Visible Limitations by Cara Lindsay


In the first grade I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I often felt like I let that limit what I did in my childhood, and even to this day. I felt like in our society we are not allowed to show our "weaknesses" and that I needed to hide who I was and my struggles to not let people see my limits. I felt alone and a burden. I always want to make people feel like they are allowed to talk about their feelings and that we all have our own story we are dealing with. No one is ever alone. I think as a society we need to eliminate the constant strive to being perfect, and that showing emotions is a weak thing to do because, it is actually a very brave and strong thing to do. I strive to create a project that not only serves as a therapeutic experience for the individuals involved but also for the audience that views the finished images. I want to create a safe space to allow people to self disclose and be vulnerable about the limits they face daily and show them they are not alone. These limits can be but are not limited to, mental health, race, assault, chronic illness, gender, religion, sexuality, etc. We must not judge people by what we can see. I am also a photographer and feel that art can change the world with it’s impact and message.

Cara Lindsay Photo by Addison Stewart

Cara Lindsay Photo by Addison Stewart


Visible Limitations 2.0


Danny

Danny

I chose black, blue and yellow. I wanted to do very contrasting colors to explain the duality of bipolar in my life. heavy highs and crushing lows. This experience showed that it’s okay to let feelings show on my sleeve. It felt very open to show what I am processing and living with daily. -Danny

Shae

Shae

Having a safe place to speak out loud my “limitations” and make them visible was amazing. When we speak through something out loud it helps us process it and how we feel. When I walked out I decided not to wash off all my paint due to convenience of just hopping in a shower. I went into a coffee shop and grabbed some food, with my limitations on display. I could have felt self conscious of what people would think of me having paint all over me. But instead I felt comfortable. Proud. Here I am. The man behind the counter said I like your art-
It dawned on me this IS art. I AM art. And these limits have been here a long time, I feel ready to release some of them and know I gave them their time to have a hold on me, and I am ready to grow beyond them. As I wash this paint off I am ready to let go of these narratives and this negativity. I can not change what has happened, but I can change how I let it affect how I feel about myself.

Amanda

Amanda

The paint shows how I feel not being good enough. Wearing make up to cover my imperfections and tattoos. Not being perfect in todays world. During this experience, I felt open and raw telling someone my story while covering the tattoos the person I loved judged

Kait

Kait

I chose black to represent the limitations that I feel from my inability to let go of past hurts, traumas and disappointments. I chose pink, yellow and purple to express my process of letting go & self love. It showed me that it is okay to feel vulnerable, and it’s okay to FEEL. Seeing my limitations painted on my body was so freeing, and a necessary experience in my healing process.

Leah

Leah

I chose black, after I was assaulted I felt ashamed of my body, I wanted to hid it. I thought that if I did, then I would be safe. I thought black best represented how I felt about my body after that experience. I have been raised and taught that my curves and my body should be a secret, a burden. When I was assaulted it only confirmed that belief in my eyes. I felt like my figure was more of a curse than it was a blessing. I felt like my body never belonged to me. The paint shows the parts of myself I am learning to love again, the parts of me that I am learning to be proud of and stop blaming for others mistakes. During my session it felt liberating, every smear of paint felt like I was taking back ownership of my body.

Karissa

Karissa

I had the paint go on my chest for when I am having an anxiety attack. I start to feel like I can’t breath and feels like my whole body starts to experience the pain. This experience made me finally see what I have been experiencing physically and how powerful my anxiety and depression and how much of a tole it has taken on me.

Tori

Tori

So the more I reflect on this experience and how it lined up with the completion of my art therapy degree I realize the experience meant much more than what I put in my survey.
So as an art therapist the foundation of our work is making the invisible, visible and making the inexpressible, expressible. There is power in witnessing ones transformation as well as the act of being witnessed. I reflected in the immediate response about the color of my skin. While this is a limitation often I also realize how important my skin color is as I enter the mental health field. So many people do not see themselves in the clinicians who help them and so many small black children don’t see themselves represented in many fields. Truly the white and black represent the hidden and visible. The covered and uncovered. The witness and the witnessed. The pain and the healing. Mental health counseling as the black, the white and everything in between. I am an art therapist. I am a mental health counselor. I am a black woman. I am here to see others healing and I myself am seen in mine healing

Addison

Addison

I feel limited by myself. The paint represent my emotions overpowering my sense of belongingness. I picked blue to resemble how I feel inside most days. I feel constantly dissatisfied, and I hate it. I know I’m unstable. I know I need help. I don’t know how i can be helped. Talking with people pushes them away. bottling it pushes people away. I try to find distractions but they are only temporary. I have a fear that I will always fail. Im not even sure how to express how I feel all I can say is that I feel helpless. During this experience I felt numb. Some days I can’t seem to reach into my brain and express the way I feel to others. It seems to come out in short incomplete sentences and it’s frustrating. I want to open up to people but showing people how i feel means i loose them.

Mikaela

Mikaela

During this experience I was able to verbalize exactly why I have a negative mindset and self-doubt. I felt so raw and exposed during this shoot- my inner most demons were put out in the universe and I left feeling like a weight had been lifted off of my chest. This experience was a beautiful reminder that every person on this earth has limitations in some form. I felt so safe and most importantly, I didn’t feel alone.

Mary

Mary

I chose blue, black and red, to represent my PTSD from sexual assault and other traumas. The blue represents the anxiety, depression, and fear I feel daily. The black represents the emptiness, how hollow and numb I feel. And the red represents the immense anger I have over being sexually assaulted. But red also represents love, and despite all the bullshit I’ve experienced in my life, I have so much love to give and offer the world, and I can never lose that love and optimism. I added pink and white to show the light and joy I still experience among all the limitations; what motivates me to continue on with my life. It felt good to release the emotions in a safe space, with someone who understands some of my pain.

Danie

Danie

I’ve suffered from severe anxiety most of my life, but I’ve always been able to work to overcome it in its worst moments, which is why people rarely see me show it or see me unhappy. I used yellow and orange to show the happiness people see me display always. I’ve always been told I’m one of the happiest people, and even though my anxiety is hidden beneath, I will always have a happy heart, and soul, and let the light outshine the darkness. During this experience I felt empowered being vulnerable, I felt confident displaying my weaknesses, and I felt strong owning exactly who I am and the limitations I experience.

Annelise

Annelise

Anxiety and depression are the hardest limitations I deal with on a daily basis. the dark colors symbolized all of the darkness I constantly feel and the red is the anger it brings me. All of these are covered by the yellow that symbolized the happiness I show on the outside when inside that might not be the same. I was very nervous about this experience but I ended up being very comfortable and felt like this was good for me. it helped me realize that its okay to be vulnerable and to talk about the hard stuff because its what makes you, you!

Braylynn

Braylynn

My limitations are consistently battling with my femininity, I feel like I have to prove to the world and myself that I am in fact a woman. Not a transgender woman but simply a woman. I don’t owe anyone explanations to deserve respect. I chose pink because a for a long time in my transition I felt like I wasn’t woman enough. I battled with my body I felt like a woman on the inside but my exterior did not completely show that.

Kellay

Kellay

I’ve always found it so interesting that we refer to feeling sad or periods of depression as “having the blues”. The longer I suffered the more I began to understand how difficult it is not to allow the blue to consume me. The longer I worked with the blue, the more I’ve begun to understand that it’s okay to embrace it. That there will be times when I will be sad. Reflecting, there are a lot of different hues of blues. Sometimes my days are dark stormy indigo and others it’s a clear bright sky blue. Sadness is always within me, but the weather will change.

James

James

My limits are resembled by a mess, a brain that struggles to realize that no thing is truly all good or all bad. One bad thing is not the end of the world, and one good thing does not make me king of the world. There is positive and negative, and an in between. This experience revealed that I am growing. That I can recognize my limitations. Self awareness is key for my peace. I felt very self-aware during this experience.

Jordan

Jordan

I chose colors that have been sources of strength and calm for me in the past or colors that remind me to be comfortable in jarring circumstances. The paint resembles the contrast of how I feel about my body versus how it functions in actuality and what that impact may be like on my self image. During this experience It felt good to expose my limitations and challenge myself to ascend them

Ryan

Ryan

Half of my body is covered which represents a mental struggle with a side of myself that has emerged, and sometimes even submerged though some dark moments. I can be emotionally restrictive & nihilistically volatile. I am generally happy all of the time, but I don’t let myself naturally feel sad or angry. I rarely ever open myself up to another individual when I feel lost or cold, so when I do feel negatively it comes out in huge overwhelming waves that I have problems coping with. As for the nihilistic part, that has always been inherent, I always thought it was liberating thing to not care about the nuances of life because it doesn’t matter in the end. We’ll all be 6 feet deep one day. This mindset has led to me being self destructive and sometimes destructive to others around me, whether that be getting blackout drunk and acting reckless, or being emotionally unavailable for someone that was seeking solace in their time of need because I didn’t care to understand. Partly because I didn’t even want to open up or understand myself. I’ve let so many emotions hide away in a mental labyrinth, but that labyrinth is slowing crumbling. I’ve made many mistakes and will surely make many more but every instance of time that passes in a chance to grow, and I will not be limited by these aspects. It was gratifying to manifest intangible things through an abstract concept. I have strayed away from these feelings or limitations recently, but it is always a cerebral battle. This experience helped solidify how I should and WANT to feel, and even how I should act in this lifetime. During the session I felt a whirlwind of anxiety, excitement, and clarity all in one instance, that instance being in front of Cara and her camera. I spoke directly about my problems while physically manifesting them, it was kinda surreal for me.

Jenna

Jenna

I chose white and green to represent envy and self doubt. white to cover my whole body and green because tis envy’s obvious color. The experience revealed how much I just want to hide, in more aspects of my life than I’m willing to want to admit.

Visible Limitations 1.0

Addison

Addison

Everyday I look in the mirror and see someone without confidence, without purpose, and without self love. I look at a world where my future seems bleak and uninspiring. I am a pessimist at heart and I can’t seem to find the good in my life. I know I have a lot to be thankful for in the world but I need to wake up and realize that. The black and white represents my moods whether it be really low lows or really high highs. I chose yellow because it makes me feel warm inside and thats how I want to feel all of the time.

Alyx

Alyx

I chose red, blue, and purple. Red to represent my bipolar disorder, blue to resemble my anxiety & depression, and purple to represent body image. I face daily limitations with my mental illnesses and body image issues, this project shows my limitations on the outside because I’m not ashamed.

Chad

Chad

My mom is a very conservative christian woman who has struggled to come to terms with my sexuality. I am so proud of her for trying to work on being more accepting, but after 4 years she still won’t allow me to tell the rest of my family. Whenever I am home and around my family I feel like a fake person because I am told to hide. I would love to just tell everyone, but in doing that I run the risk of losing my mom and the rest of my family, and in that way I feel limited in everything I do. This experience was honestly one of the most emotional personal experiences I have been through. Putting the duct tape brought made me feel like the fake person I am told to be around my family. By painting the rainbow on myself, it was like showing the whole world who I truly am. Being able to rip the duct tape off was like finally taking control of my situation and letting go of all the resentment I hold toward my mom. It was in that moment where all the emotions came crashing in and I started to cry. For once in my life I finally felt in control of my own life, and it was all due to this amazing project.

Gigi

Gigi

I’m asian + “Lipstick lesbian” = “it doesn’t exist”, not being taken serious, family has a hold on you, certain people see colors, but I see beauty in every color. Every color represents gender & race. Until I see it with my own eyes, by what I’m entitled to be, it’s hard with society that doesn’t take you serious, being a woman who dress up a little more than most lesbians still isn’t enough to prove the title. But I am a lesbian and that’s that. colors represent in so many ways, and I’m one of those many colors. Im different. And I’m not going to explain myself anymore. Take it as it is.

Genna

Genna

I had originally mapped out a perfect narrative using intention in every color. I wanted to write about each step in my process of self-discovery through limitation, but as I stepped back from this experience, I realized that a major piece in my own limitations was actually what I was overlooking the whole time—calculation to a point of personal detriment. My perceived levity was yellow, my audacity red, my emotional intelligence purple and my evolution blue. I wanted to use traditional symbolism in each color and plaster it on the parts of me that make the most sense for my story.
Abstraction, decontextualization and personal exploration are all things I hope for but cannot plan. This came up throughout and after my experience with Visual Limitations. We always end up finding roundabout ways to learn about ourselves and this project showed me myself in ways I couldn’t have expected, but needed to see. I’m limited by my desire to always make safe choices, by my concern that risks will set me back or destroy the world around me, when the messiness and process of leaping are what matter most. The more I practice risk, the more I free myself from the limitations I saw when I first stepped into Cara’s studio.

Justin

Justin

The paint resembles the darkness the plagues my mind and consumes me with paranoia and my uncontrollable urge of bipolar. I felt extremely empowered during this experience and seeing my limits on my body.

Liz

Liz

I chose purple for my limitations with outsiders and my tattoos, and how people judge me based on them. The dark blue represents the limits, anxiety and my pain I put on myself based on outside opinions. The light blue is what I feel represents the real me, when I’m not holding back. I feel the most comfort when I’m surrounded by this color. I placed the dark over the light because i let my pain and past run my days alot of the time. The white, represents my biggest obstacle, which is saying how I feel, or letting others know how they effect me, but I let all these outside influences (dark blue and purple) dictate how I react and say things, Which is why I focused on my throat. Sometimes I feel like I’m being smothered or drowning in my anxieties when I let these thing effect me. I’ve realized that I let the world dictate how I feel about myself. And if I’m okay or not based on an interaction with one person. This project has really brought into light my own obstacles, that could very well be avoided if I thought better of myself.

Makayla

Makayla

I chose the color black to resemble my insecurities that has come from modeling. It shows how every moment I am conscious of my body, and how it has affected my life. I always feel like I should be improving/changing something about my body. During the experience I felt nervous, I don’t usually open up and talk about my insecurities and showing them physically made me really confront them.

Marcus

Marcus

My biggest limit besides my envirment or mental state in my head is my own mind/mindset. I am the only one setting limits to myself. All that is in my head is up to me to mantifest into life, the limits I have in life are all on my own shoulders I don’t do any blaming... We got to choose our own limits cause indeed we make our own limits besides what we were given coming into this life.

Nadison

Nadison

My limit is me speaking from my heart. Not even just speaking, but behaving, and creating as well. I’m guarding my genuine expression in fear of reveling myself and being rejected by another. The fear of not being good enough forces me to mask my genuine self with something that I beleive will result in acceptance, even if its not truly me. This stops me from truly being me and feeling free, from creating freely and letting my heart and mind express themselves to the fullest extent of my genuine self. Seeing my limits painted on my body allowed me to see something that is normally beyond visual perception. It allowed me to see where on my body I feel it and to what extent. It revealed to me that my limitation are not something to fear, but to spend time with, to understand, to feel and to accept because ultimately they are apart of me, and I can’t fully accept myself if I can’t accept my limits. They may be limits and things that I’ve learned to supress and fear, but they are a part of what make me unique and therefore they are a peice of my identy.

Nikki

Nikki

Blue/red/black - represents anxiety. When I feel anxious, I get a big lump in my throat/choked up. Someone told me once during a tarot reading that my aura was blue everywhere except for my throat. They said the aura around my throat was so red, it was almost black. It felt super cathartic, also kind of emotionally overwhelming. It was very interesting to force myself into those feelings for artistic purposes.

Shani

Shani

I chose the colors black & white, because they resemble who i am, both black & white, mixing those together to become grey. a grey area in which i find myself constantly of not knowing which side to identify with. the limitations are not knowing which side i identify with. Not feeling like i true belong to one or the other. not being seen by other as either or. When i realized that the colors were mixing to grey in the middle of my chest it made me realize that i am a mixture of these colors, i do not have to choose one or the other because i become both.

Whitney

Whitney